I woke up today committed to starting my morning in prayer, but like most days my mind wandered within seconds. I would start to say something aloud to God only to realize that somehow and at some point I started thinking about something completely unrelated and irrelevant to what I began our conversation with.
It goes something like this.
I read Thessalonians 5, which claims that God will be faithful to finish whatever he has called me to.
I then feel a gratitude for His faithfulness and follow through, which then actually leads me to how I forgot to follow through when I told my youngest child I would read chapter 12 of The Lion Witch and Wardrobe last night.
I then begin thinking of talking Lions (a main character in the story), which leads me to real lions, which then reminds me of the picture I saw this morning of my friend sitting next to a Tiger in her recent trip to Buenos Aires.
This unfortunately then reminds that I haven’t prayed for her the way I’ve wanted to or should be. That inevitably calls into question whether or not I’m a good friend and value real relationships with people, and at this point I go back to God verbally repenting for my shallowness only to realize that I have checked out of our conversation that we began 5 minutes earlier about Thessalonians 5 before going down the ADD path to Buenos Aires.
This craziness happens all the time. And I often sit frustrated with my lack of focus, somewhat puzzled by it, wondering if it’s because I haven’t had enough caffeine, or whether the doctors missed a diagnosis when I was young, or if I really am just that undisciplined in my prayer life.
Yet at the end of my holy hypothesis I almost always come back to my stellar theology that it must be Satan: The one who throws anything he has at me in order to keep me disengaged from Jesus and an intricate and intimate relationship with Him.
In fact I think many of us go through this and end up with the same conclusion, and many times it is why we consistently give up on a life of consistent prayer.
But at some point we must consider the following:
What if many of us have too big of a Devil and too small of a God?
Author Bill Johnson says that while the enemy of our souls will work to distract us from God’s presence, he is often blamed when he is nowhere near because we’ve misunderstood our Father and what He values. (If it matters to us, it most likely matters to God.)
If I have asked to convene with God, maybe I need to redefine my definition of prayer and expect that He wants to engage my mind, body, and soul in a two-way conversation.
Maybe I need to expect that the Lord is going to bring creative ideas, people’s names, certain pictures, specific scenarios, and even meeting agendas to my mind as He speaks back to me through word, thought, and picture.
What if it isn’t ADD, or divisive distractions from the devil, but is instead the simple, wild, and beautiful interaction between a creator and His creation.
Maybe next time I need to anticipate and expect God to be actively engaged, pick up a pen to write down everything I’m thinking of, seeing, feeling, and hearing, and trust that He is intricately involved in all.
Then (and maybe only then), will I will actually feel the freedom to stop and pray for my random, Tiger-loving friend in Buenos Aires.